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Team India celebrate after winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 against England on Sunday night at Edgbaston © Getty Images

By UnReal Mama

Please note this is a humour article – work of pure fiction

It was billed as an ideal final — a match between the two best teams in the competition. Many felt England, playing in home conditions, held the edge, and India would have to be at their best to put it past the Poms. The English were certainly charged up. If Mahendra Singh Dhoni was keyed up for the occasion, it didn’t quite show on his countenance in the pre-match photo-op with the trophy.

The rain gods have a very cruel sense of humour. First, they ensured the full quota of 100 overs in the India vs Sri Lanka semi-final, a match that fans wouldn’t have minded being washed out. And then, with no reserve day, they nearly washed out the entire day’s play of the finals. The rain would pause every now and then. And then, much like a Bollywood movie hits viewers with an item number just when people begin to think the story is getting somewhere, the rain would return, sending players, umpires and officials scurrying back to the pavilion.


After the nth rain interruption, the umpires declared a curtailed game — 24 overs a side — and then after yet another interruption, they whittled it down to a T20 match.


Thankfully, the rain mostly stayed away for the rest of the day, and we had a match. And what a match it was! Riddled with a zillion twists and turns that would make Abbas-Mastan of Race fame proud!

It began calmly enough. Put in to bat, the Indian openers started cautiously before Rohit Sharma, showing extraordinary match awareness, re-calibrated his stay to fewer than three overs, and got bowled by Stuart Broad as he completely missed the line in going for an expansive drive. The stage had been set for the hitherto untested Chennai Super Kings Indian middle-order to stamp its authority on the course of the game. But the rain gods, showing keen awareness of the Indian Premier League format, decided to impose a strategic time out:


And after the rain interruption, the first cruel twist unfolded: Between overs eight and 12, the spine of the Indian batting, Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan had been dismissed by James Anderson, Broad, James Tredwell and Ravi Bopara. Perhaps he reminded the Indian batsmen of Ravi Shastri. Maybe, it was because he had gone unsold in this year’s IPL auction. Whatever. The Indian batsmen one by one committed hara-kiri in going after him and the Indian score read 66 for five off 13 overs.


It was left to Virat Kohli, ably assisted by Sir Ravindra Jadeja, to repair the Indian innings and give the Indian bowlers something to defend. Some late order pyrotechnics ensured that India managed 129 in their quota of 20 overs. It felt like a below par score.


The Indian fight back began on the right note with Umesh Yadav quickly sending Alastair Cook back to the kitchen pavilion. The Indians smiled as Test specialist Jonathan Trott walked in. “Take your time with him, boys,” said Dhoni to his bowlers. Trott, however, had something strange for lunch. He slammed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for two boundaries to boost the English score, scoring at well over a run-a-ball. As the Indians wondered what the hell was happening, someone came up with a tactic:


An adrenaline fueled Trott, perhaps unaware about Ravichandran Ashwin’s usual quota of wides, attempted to connect with an Ashwin delivery harmlessly floating down the leg side, overbalanced and was promptly stumped by the nimble Dhoni. The spin duo of Ashwin and Sir Jadeja then did what Indian bowling legends of yore have done over the nation’s illustrious cricketing history — strangulate the English batsmen and choke the flow of runs. Poor man’s Trott, Joe Root, departed, leaving Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan at the crease.

And then came another ‘Ghanta’ moment for Bell, as he was given out stumped in a very iffy decision by the third umpire. Memories of the Bell incident from the third day of the Trent Bridge Test in the 2011 India-England series came flooding back:


However, the third umpire had a perfectly sound explanation for his dubious decision:


With Ashwin and Sir Jadeja keeping things tight, Ishant Sharma played his role to perfection, leaking runs as easily as rivers overflowing their banks in Uttarakhand. In hindsight, everything was going according to plan. Bopara and Morgan began to reconstruct the England innings, helped by some fine bowling by the lanky Indian pacer. At the end of 17 overs, 28 were needed off 18 balls with six wickets in hand. Ashwin and Jadeja would have to be saved for the final two overs which would coincide with the powerplay. Who would Dhoni deploy for the ante-penultimate over?

Ishant’s second ball was whacked for yet another six, followed by two wides. If Captain Cool was getting flustered, he wasn’t showing it then. And then the miracle! Morgan and Bopara dismissed in what had really been part of an elaborate strategy! Sheer genius from Dhoni to have given the ball to Ishant! The icing on the cake was that the ball that dismissed Morgan was a classical slow ball, in the finest traditions of Indian slow bowling pioneered by the one and only Venkatesh Prasad.


Back in Haryana, Ishant’s uncle and T20 veteran, Joginder Sharma’s eyes welled up with tears.


Two overs left. Nineteen to get. England had one last hope, power-hitter Jos Buttler. Cool as a cat, Dhoni tossed the ball to Sir Jadeja. Sir Jadeja ambled in and tossed it up on the middle stump. Buttler charged with the fury of a mad bull, swung his bat and connected big time… with thin air. Bewildered he looked back only to find his middle stump pegged back.


Sir Jadeja scalped two wickets and gave away only four runs to put India firmly in the driver’s seat. Fifteen were needed off six deliveries, and Ashwin had the privilege of bowling the last over in a final of a world tournament, something traditionally reserved for men of steel like Joginder.

Broad, donning the senior’s mantle, demonstrated enormous maturity and leadership by taking a single and passing on the strike to the number No 11 batsman James Tredwell. Tredwell did the best he could, which is another way of saying, England fell short. India won by five runs, and viewers were treated to a rather unusual sight of Captain Cool jumping with joy.


It was a perfect day for Indian cricket indeed:


The Man of the match was a no-brainer of course:


Celebrations erupted across the field as Indian players demonstrated the full range of cricketing skills they picked up during IPL:

Meanwhile, back in India:


Dhoni proceeded to take care of some unfinished business :


And in Buckingham Palace, this happened:

(Originally published in www.theunrealtimes.com. “Unreal Mama” is the pen name of CS Krishna & Karthik Laxman, founding editors of the site which is India’s favourite satire, spoof, parody and humour portal)